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scenes, they can be employed to advantage by interminglin them with the more striking and majestic forms of the oak, etc., where variety and contrast is desired. The European sycamore, which is also a maple, has a coarser foliage, and more of strength in its growth and appearance: it perhaps approaches nearer in general expression and effect to the plane tree, than to our native maples.
It is unnecessary for us to recommend this tree for avenues, or for bordering the streets of cities, as its general prevalence in such places sufficiently indicates its acknowledged claims for beauty, shade, and shelter. It bears pruning remarkably well, and is easily transplanted, even when of large size, from its native woods or swamps. The finest trees, however, are produced from seed.
The Sugar maple, (Acer saccharinum,) is a very abundant tree in the northern states and the Canadas, where it sometimes forms immense forests. The bark is white; the leaves four or five inches broad, and five-lobed; varying, however, in size according to the age of the tree. The flowers are small, yellowish, and suspended by slender drooping peduncles. The seed is contained in two capsules united at the base, and terminated in a membranous wing; they are ripe in October. From certain parts of the trunks of old Sugar maples, the fine wood called bird's-eye maple is taken, which is so highly prized by the cabinet-makers; and the sap, which flows in abundance from holes bored in the stem of the tree early in March, produces the well-known maple sugar. This can be clarified, so as to equal that of the cane in flavour and appearance; and it has been demonstrated that the planting of maple orchards, for the production of sugar, would be a profitable investment.
The Scarlet-flowering maple, (A. rubrum,) is found chiefly on the borders of rivers, or in swamps; the latter place appears best suited to this tree, for it there often attains a very large size: it is frequently called the Soft maple or Swamp maple. The blossoms come out about the middle of April, while the branches are yet bare of leaves, and their numerous little pendulous stamens appear like small tufts of scarlet or purple threads. The leaves somewhat resemble those of the Sugar maple, but are rather smaller, and only three or four lobed, glaucous or whitish underneath, and irregularly toothed on the margin. This tree may easily be distinguished when young from the former, by the bark of the trunk, which is gray, with large whitish spots. Its trunk, in the choicest parts, furnishes the beautiful wood known as the curled maple.
The White or Silver-leaved maple. (A. eriocarpum.) This species somewhat resembles the Scarlet-flowering maple, and they are often confounded together in the eastern and middle states, where it grows but sparingly. West of the Alleghany mountains it is seen in perfection, and is well known as the White maple. Its flowers are very pale in colour, and much smaller than those of the foregoing sorts. The leaves are divided into four lobes, and have a beautiful white under surface. Michaux, speaking of this tree, says: "In no part of the United States is it more multiplied than in the western country, and nowhere is its vegetation more luxuriant than on the banks of the Ohio. There, sometimes alone and sometimes mingled with the willow, which is found along these waters, it contributes singularly, by its magnificent foliage, to the embellishment of the scene. The brilliant white of the leaves beneath, forms a striking contrast with the bright green above, and the alternate re
flection of the two surfaces in the water, heightening the beauty of this wonderful moving mirror, aids in forming an enchanting picture, which, during my long excursions in a canoe in these regions of solitude and silence, I contemplated with unwearied admiration."* There, on those fine, deep, alluvial soils, it often attains twelve or fifteen feet in circumference.
As an ornamental variety, the Silver-leaved maple is one of the most valuable. It is exceeding rapid in its growth, often making shoots six feet long in a season, and the silvery hue of its foliage, when stirred by the wind, as well as its fine, half drooping habit, render it highly interesting to the planter. Admirable specimens of this species may be seen in the wide streets of Burlington, N. J.
The Moose wood, or Striped maple, (A striatum,) is a small tree with beautifully striped bark. It is often seen on the mountains which border the Hudson, but abounds most profusely in the north of the continent. Acer nigrum, is the Black sugar tree of Genesee. A. Negundo,† the Ash-leaved maple, has handsome pinnated foliage of a light green hue ; it forms a pleasing tree of medium size. These are our principal native species.‡
Among the finest foreign sorts is the Norway maple, (A. platanoides,) with leaves intermediate in appearance between those of the plane tree and Sugar maple. The bark of the trunk is brown, and rougher in appearance than our maples, and the tree is more loose and spreading in its growth; it also grows more rapidly, and strongly resembles at a little distance, the button-wood in its young state. Another interesting species is the sycamore tree or Great ma+ Negundo fraxinifolium.
*N. A Sylva, 1. 214.
Mr. Douglas has discovered a very superb maple, (A. macrophyllum,) on the Columbia river, with very large leaves, and fine fragrant yellow blossoms.
ple, (A. pseudo-platanus.) The latter also considerably resembles the plane; but the leaves, like those of the common maple, are smoother. They are five-lobed, acute in the divisions, and are placed on much longer petioles than those of most of the species. The flowers, strung in clusters like those of the common currant, are greenish in colour. It is much esteemed as a shade-tree in Scotland, and some parts of the Continent, and grows with vigour, producing a large head, and widely spreading branches.
THE LOCUST TREE. Robinia.
Nat. Ord. Leguminosa. Lin. Syst. Diadelphia, Decandria.
This is a well-known American tree, found growing wild in all of the states west of the Delaware River. It is a tree of secondary size, attaining generally the height of forty or fifty feet. The leaves are pinnated, bluish-green in colour, and are thinly scattered over the branches. The white blossoms appear in June, and are highly fragrant and beautiful; and from them the Paris perfumers distil an extrait which greatly resembles orange-flower water, and is used for the same purposes.
As an ornamental tree, we do not esteem the locust highly. The objections to it are, 1st, its meagreness and lightness of foliage, producing but little shade; secondly, the extreme brittleness of its branches, which are liable to be broken and disfigured by every gale of wind; and lastly, the abundance of suckers which it produces. Notwithstanding these defects, we would not entirely banish the locust from our pleasure
grounds; for its light foliage of a fresh and pleasing green may often be used to advantage in producing a variety with other trees; and its very fragrant blossoms are beautiful, when, in the beginning of summer they hang in loose pendulous clusters from among its light foliage. These will always speak sufficiently in its favour to cause it to be planted more or less, where a variety of trees is desired. It should, however, be remembered that the foliage comes out at a late period in spring, and falls early in autumn, which we consider objections to any tree that is to be planted in the close vicinity of the mansion. It is valuable for its extremely rapid growth when young; as during the first ten or fifteen years of its life, it exceeds in thrifty shoots almost all other forest trees: but it is comparatively shortlived, and in twenty years time, many other trees would completely overtop and outstrip it. It is easily propagated by seed, which is by far the best mode of raising it, and it prefers a deep, rich, sandy loam.*
As a timber tree of the very first class, the locust has but few rivals. It is found to be stronger and more durable than the best oak or Red cedar; while it is lighter, and equally durable with the Live oak of the south. Its excellency for ship-building is therefore unsurpassed; and as much of the timber as can be procured of sufficient size, commands a high price for that purpose. Great use is also made of it in
*There is a great difference in the growth of this tree. In cold or indifferent soils, it presents a rough and rugged aspect; but in deep, warm, sandy soils, it becomes quite another tree in appearance. The highest specimens we have ever seen, are now growing in such soil on the estate of J. P. Derwint, Esq. at Fishkill Landing, on the banks of the Hudson, New-York. Some specimens there, measure 90 feet, which is higher than Michaux saw on the deep alluvials in Kentucky, where they are natives. The finest single tree is one standing in front of the mansion at Clermont, on the Hudson, which is four feet in diameter.